Meet the Harriet Family

2021: Emily's Preterm Birth Story


Experiencing preterm birth is undeniably scary. After the birth of her first child, who was born too soon, Emily experienced postpartum preeclampsia, making her second pregnancy high risk. She developed preeclampsia again and gestational diabetes, and her daughter was born early at 36 weeks. Because Emily was on magnesium, her daughter was blue and not breathing and she was taken straight to the NICU. She was there for 20 days while she was learning how to breathe and eat on her own so that she could gain the strength to go home.

“It’s hard for my husband,” Emily says. “He had to split his time between me and her and making sure that we were both okay and felt safe. Luckily, we had a wonderful team behind us. But seeing your daughter come out and everyone rush to her aid was very scary. And then to have her away from me for the first 24 hours, although I know other women have it much longer. It was sad. I missed her. You give birth and you want to hold them and I didn't get that chance.”

What helped Emily most during all of this was the solidarity and support she felt in the NICU. “Just being in the NICU and having those NICU nurses, they're amazing, and then the other moms and dads that are going through the same experience and just being the biggest cheerleader for their children and hoping that they gain the strength to come home. I hope by sharing my story that other women can be inspired to share theirs and know that they're fully supported by other women that have gone through something similar to them.”

Emily feels lucky and grateful that both of her babies are healthy and strong today. “They love and adore one another,” she says. “It's really special to see their bond and I'm so grateful for all the support that I had. And I hope that other women feel the same type of support when they're going through something that challenging. My advice for women and families that are experiencing preterm birth would be to feel all the feelings, experience and validate everything that they're going through, it's a very hard, challenging time. And know that there are other women and families that are out there that have gone through what you've gone through and we all hope that your children will come home happy and healthy with you sometime very soon.”

To support our work to fight for the health of all moms and babies, DONATE NOW.